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The Situation Room

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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U.s. 29, Us 28, Pemex 26, Mexico City 24, Hagel 24, Israel 22, Chuck Hagel 18, Syria 17, Mexico 14, Cnn 11, Menendez 11, Fbi 11, Geico 10, Mccain 10, China 9, Hezbollah 8, Iran 8, Washington 8, John Mccain 8, Davis 7,
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  CNN    The Situation Room    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    January 31, 2013
    1:00 - 3:59pm PST  

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the bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ gave proof through the night that our flag was still there ♪ ♪ oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave ♪ ♪ o'er the land of the free ♪ ♪ and the home of the brave ♪
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>> thank you guys so much. >> and, of course, on the eve of super bowl xlvii, cnn is live in new orleans, the biggest sporting event in the country. how this game has become a cultural phenomenon. much, much more. we welcome rachel nichols in the cnn bleacher report at 4:00 eastern saturday afternoon. that's it for me. now to washington to my friend wolf blitzer. >> a very tough day for defense secretary chuck hagel. also, an unfolding scandal involving a united states senator denying allegations of prostitution and free plane trips. eight "new york times"
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reveals its been under attacks for months by someone in china. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we were bracing for fireworks at today's confirmation hearing for defense secretary nominee chuck hagel but it actually turned out to be even a lot tougher than many of us expected. republicans grilled hagel raising serious questions about his past statements and positions, especially about israel and iran. at times, hagel seemed to struggle to answer some of those tough questions and other times he gave answers he later had to clarify. let's go to our chief white house correspondent jessica yellin. jessica, it was a tough, tough day for chuck hagel? >> reporter: so far it has been,
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wolf. chuck was battered by republicans, forcing some stumbles and bruising. so far, no knockout blow but the day of questioning is not over yet. former senator chuck hagel sat at the table alone fielding hostile questions, including one-time close friend, john mccain. >> i want to know if you were right or wrong. that's a direct question. i expect a direct answer. >> i'm not going to give you a yes or no answer on a lot of things. >> reporter: that exchange centered on hagel's past opposition to the iraq surnl, a surge that mccain championed. >> no one individual vote, no one individual quote, no one individual statement defines me, my beliefs or my record.
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we must use all our tools of american power to protect our citizens and our interests. americans must engage in the world, not retreat from the world. >> reporter: for hours, one republican after another accused the former two-term nebraska senator of shading his true beliefs. among their concerns, past statements criticizing israel. >> do you think it's right that israel was committing a, quote, sickening slaughter as you said on the floor and senate. >> reporter: and intimidation about the pro israel lobby. >> name one person, in your opinion, who is intimidated by the israel lobby in the united states senate. >> i didn't -- the use of intimidation, i should have used influence. >> reporter: more questions centered on this report he co-authored which supports the elimination of all nuclear weapons, even if the u.s. goes first. he said he doesn't agree with all its findings. >> why would you ever put your name on a report that is inherently inconsistent with
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what you're telling us today. >> reporter: and wolf, the biggest flash point now has to do with iran. at one point the former senator says he supports the president's policy of containment and later had to correct himself to say he meant the opposite, not containment. and then another premise of u.s. policy, saying he believes iran is a legitimate and elected government. it took a democratic senator to follow up. listen to this. >> i do not see iran or the iranian government a legitimate government and i'd like your thoughts on that. >> thank you, senator. what i meant to say, should have said, it's recognizable. it's been recognized, is recognized at the united nations. most of our allies have embassies there. that's what i should have said. >> reporter: now, democrats who are close to senator hagel call all of this a lot of gotya
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questions, wolf, and think that he will still prevail and it's tough going and they are back after a lunch break for even more questions. wolf? >> jessica, is there any immediate reaction from the white house, from officials where you are right now to the first round of questioning about how hagel is doing? >> reporter: they have been very careful not to comment on the record only here officially they believe this is an important process. but again, what i'm saying is that people who are democrats who are close to senator hagel believe this is a lot of gochya and he will ultimately -- nothing that has happened so far today convinces them that he will nott not be confirmed at te end. >> jessica, thank you very much. joe manchin of west virginia complained the hagel confirmation had become, and i'm quoting him now, a toxic process where there is once again quoting, guilt by conversation. i'm joined by gloria borger up on capitol hill, dana bash.
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gloria, it was a tough, tough day for chuck hagel and some people think he didn't necessarily help himself. >> no. i think he didn't quell any of the skepticism about him and in talking to a couple of republican senators on the hill, the response that i got was that he seemed unsteady in many of his answers, even on the most predictable questions, as jessica pointed out. he was clearly going to get a question from john mccain on the iraq surge. he didn't answer that to mccain's liking. and later, you know, on that issue of iran, which we knew was going to be a flashpoint for him, he seemed to confuse the president's policy. let's take a listen to that. >> i have just been handed a note that i misspoke and said i supported the president's position on containment. if i said that, it meant to say that i obvious cannily his position on containment we don't have a position on containment.
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>> well, we do have a position on containment, as the chairman of the armed services committee carl levin had to point out and that is that we are opposed to containment. we are for the prevention of iran getting nuclear weapons. so that was -- >> the president himself says there will be no containing a nuclear iran or will be preventing iran from getting that nuclear capability. >> basic question. >> let me bring dana up on capitol hill. what's been the reaction there? you were watching these several hours of hearings. >> reporter: that's right. they actually took a break for an hour and during that break senators were on the floor voting and as senators like to do, they were gossiping. i talked to many of them and what they were saying is that it was all the buzz on the floor. that they were very surprised that senator hagel is simply not doing as well as many people thought he would. in fact, one senator told me that it is all the talk, i mean,
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all the talk that the senators are shocked about how ill prepared he is on some of the most basic controversial comments that he made that he and everyone knew would be asked about. supporting hagel, sort of shaking his head in disbelief says he's surprised he's not more forceful and another undecided senator on this committee said that he had three different ways to answer the question on the surge, that he simply got into it on john mccain. so simply put, there is, as i said, disbelief. primarily not just because as jessica reported he had three murder board but because he knows how this works and so that's why there's a lot of people who were perplexed here. the obvious next question, wolf, is what will that mean for his confirmation because those senators on the floor, they hold his fate in their hands.
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the answer is unclear. there are still a number of undecided republicans, most importantly, and if somebody actually does block this filibuster, five republicans are going to have to join democrats, assuming they all vote for him. >> gloria, what are you hearing? right now there are 50 democrats, 45 republicans. if there is a filibuster, you need 60 to break a filibuster. what are you hearing about that? >> if they decide to filibuster, if one republican senator decided to filibuster, one republican senator said to me today, that would be a declaration of war on this president and this senator said it's one thing to vote no and another to block a nomination. susan rice was forced to withdraw her nomination because of the republican nomination. will the republicans do that again? does the president have a presumption that he gets his nominees, except in the most extreme circumstances?
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if they did it once, would they try and do it again? don't forget, they have to work with this president on an issue like immigration, for example. i think at this point it's very hard to know. >> yeah. well, we'll watch very closely. i was pretty surprised, i must say, watching senator mccain grill hagel and lindsey graham, grill hagel, how tough they were on a former republican colleague in the senate. i knew there would be tough questions. it got pretty tough. >> democrats ask tough questions, too. >> gloria, thanks very much. much more on this story coming up later in "the situation room." we're also following a scandal that may engulf a powerful senate democrat. robert menendez denying allegations that he dealt with prostitutes or took free plane trips. we'll have the latest on the investigation and the political fallout. and al gore is right now on the spot.
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a scandal involving an fbi investigation and a u.s. senator may have some huge political repercussions. today the white house and harry reid are sort of distancing themselves from democratic senator robert menendez of new jersey. jim acosta is following this story here in washington. our national correspondent susan candiotti is following the investigation in new york. susan, let's go to you first. what's going on? >> wolf, senator menendez acknowledges taking three trips on the prif eight jet of his friend. two for personal reasons in 2010 and one for business. he paid back the doctor's corporation for the two personal trips to the tune of more than $58,000. that check was written a few weeks ago. more than two years after the trips took place and two months after an ethics committee
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complaint was submitted. why the delay? menendez's office calls it a, quote, oversight, but the story, wolf, goes deeper than that. a florida eye doctor and menendez campaign contributor with whom the senator stayed is now under scrutiny by the fbi. the west palm beach, florida's office was raided this week. agents carried out several books of material. the fbi will only say it was conducting, quote, law enforcement activity. melgan's attorney says, quote, the government has not informed dr. melgan what concerns it may have. we are confident that dr. melgen has acted appropriately at all times. he's flown on the jet, a 13-seater similar to this one. the doctor has a vacation home at casa de campo.
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the ethics committee was sent this complaint from a new jersey state senator asking for an investigation into those caribbean trips. the complaint questions whether men nen necklace violated the ethics code by repeatedly flying on a private jet to the dominican republic and other locations and soliciting prostitution. after being unable to substantiate the claims, the group referred the allegation to the fbi. more recently, a conservative blog, the the daily caller, published links to videos of alleged prostitutes. it also shows e-mails that suggest the fbi is investigating but the fbi isn't commenting. the senator says, quote, any allegations of engaging with prostitutes are manufactured by
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a politically motivated right-wing blog and are false. >> susan, what else do we know about this relationship between senator menendez and dr. melgan? >> wolf, senator menendez issued a statement calling the doctor a friend and supporter. federal election documents indicate that he and his family have contributed $30,000 to senator menendez alone. they are not required to disclose those trips. >> susan candiotti, thanks very much. let's consider the political fallout. our national political correspondent jim acosta is here in "the situation room." did you find him? >> he showed up a couple of times on the senate floor, wolf, but he was very difficult to track down. it appears he did not show up for a policy lunch with vice
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president biden earlier this afternoon. he appears to be keeping a low profile these days and that's about it. those two appearances on the senate floor. the political fallout swirling around senator menendez is unclear at this point. it appears that both ends of pennsylvania, at least for the moment, are backing away from the man who is now the next chairman of the senate foreign relations committee. harry reid cautioned reporters to be wary of the menendez story because of the source of where these allegations came from. however, that was before a menendez spokesperson confirmed late last night that the new jersey senator had reimbursed florida eye doctor $58,000 for those charter flights down to the dominican republic back in 2010. i asked senator reid if he knew about those reimbursements and here's what he had to say. >> first of all, bob menendez is my friend. he's an outstanding senator. he's now the new chair of the
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foreign relations committee. any questions in this regard directing him, i don't know anything about it. >> and so that's all he had to say there. cnn has learned that senator reid was aware of those reimbursements when he made that statement. meanwhile, dick durbin had little to say when asked about the impact that they might have on immigration reform, as menendez is part of the gang of eight working on the issue at the white house. wolf, there is also no comment. the press secretary jay carney was pressed a couple of times on this, did not have a comment on it. obviously all of this stems from a story published in the conservative blog, the dale look caller. wolf, hi a chance to talk with folks at the citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington. they learned about this before this story was published in the daily caller. they learned about these allegations last july, turned them over to the fbi. i talked to the director of crew earlier this afternoon. more on that at 6:00. she does believe that it's possible that senator menendez
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violated senate ethics rules by taking these trips and making these reimbursements so late in the day. at the same time, she cautions that you have to be careful about these allegations because they first came out in the daily caller in november just before the election last fall when senator menendez was up for re-election. as you know, he was re-elected. >> yes, he was. we'll look forward to your report at 6:00 p.m. eastern in "the situation room." jim acosta, thank you. as politicians seek to end school shootings, we have to absorb a new incident. this time at a middle school in atlanta. that's straight ahead here in "the situation room."
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the senate has just followed the house of representatives in the past legislation extending the nation's debt ceiling, this time at least until may 19th. but for practical purposes, probably a few months longer than that. the vote in the senate, 64-34. the bill passed the house next week and will sign it into law. there will be an increase in the nation's debt limit, at least for the next few months. they will battle over this later down the road. other news we're following, three stories involving high-profile shootings at a time when the nation is struggling with the issue of guns. lisa sylvester is monitoring that. some of the other top stories in "the situation room." lisa, what's the latest? >> at least one person has been shot at a middle school in atlanta. the victim was conscious and breathing when taken to a local hospital. the suspected gunman is believed to be a student and is in
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custody. police outside of dallas are investigating the shooting of a prosecutor. district attorney mark haas was gunned down this morning outside the county courthouse. police aren't sure whether haas was targeted or not. and in mesa, arizona, police have south the body of arthur harmon. he appears to have suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound. and a chain reaction accident unfolded this morning on the rouge river bridge. the salt doesn't always work when it's windy. at least 15 people were hurt in the accident. it was snowing at the time of the crash but officials say that it was a typical winter morning. and in other news, david beckham is moving back to paris, signing with the soccer club in the french capital. he will donate his wages to a paris children's charity. he spent six years in the u.s. winning two titles while playing
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major league soccer. and i've got to admit, every time i hear his name, i think of that movie. >> good movie. thank you. thanks very much, lisa, for that. safe to say, new jersey's senate race could be the most watched in the country in 2014. now a famous television personality actually could join the race. here's a clue. geraldo and al gore rebounded from his presidential disappointment as a climate change evan jal lift. hypocrisy? i'll ask one of his former aides. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes? and with all the points i've been earning, i was able to get us a flight to our favorite climbing spot even on a holiday weekend. ♪ things are definitely looking up.
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israel is used to threats from iran but even so the most recent warning is very, very troubling. it comes after an air strike by israeli jets on syria. one where no one quite agrees on
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what exactly happened. let's bring in cnn's nick paton walsh. he's joining us from beirut. there are conflicting stories about what actually happened in that air strike. the u.s. is weighing in. what's going on? what is the latest that you're learning? >> reporter: israel is saying nothing about this. as you mentioned, a u.s. official is saying that they believe a convoy moving from lebanon to syria was carrying surface missiles and that's what israeli air strike hit late on tuesday. state television offering a quite different version of events, saying that a scientific research facility, the northwest of damascus was in fact hit. they are also suggesting it was under attack for some months by terrorists. perhaps integrity compromised. perhaps that's why israel attacked. not at all clear what happened but with we still heard threats.
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iran saying serious consequences for the city of tel-aviv and syria complaining to the united nations, dragging in the u.n. representative to the area between israel and syria to express their anger and even saying they may have the capacity for some type of retaliation. people are waiting to see what happened, wolf. >> this would clearly have a potential of what was already a horrible, horrible situation if iran and syria, hezbollah, if they were to retaliate against israel, that would dramatically escalate what is already going on. >> reporter: certainly. very dangerous to make a prediction in this part of the world and given what is happening inside syria, particularly damascus on their back foot and perhaps prone to irrational responses. as we're seeing at the moment, most observers think that an overretaliation is unlikely. of course syria, its military
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heavily stretched by this civil war. particularly given how israel now denying any real involvement. hezbollah and a very delicate balance here. of course their military allied to the assad regime but they have a very cautious political role to play here. they don't want to get into a lengthy military issue with the israelis and, of course, iran. certainly leadership driven by division. many not quite sure what they could do. concerns about some sort of covert retaliation, how ever that may play out. people are waiting to see if this is vague and at times in the past 24 hours, if that means something else could possibly happen. wolf? >> nick paton walsh in beirut watching this delicate situation unfold. thank you. the "new york times" is not the only newspaper that says its been under attack by chinese
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he just got a statement from the spokesperson for the senator here in washington saying that the new jersey democrat will stay on as chairman as the senate foreign relations committee. he's been under scrutiny reimbursing train trips to honduras. he has also denied any involvement with prostitutes in the dominican republic. we'll have more on this story later. a spokeswoman for the senator saying that the senator will stay on as chairman for the senate foreign relations committee. he will succeed john kerry who will be the next secretary of state. let's talk about what is going on in our strategy session. joining us is donna brazil and david frum, both cnn contributors. big deal, little deal based on
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what we know? what do you think? >> i don't think a spokesman denied involvement with prostitutes or underage prostitutes is the thing you want to say of a chairman of the committee that deals with the world. it's a nervous making moment for him and let's hope he has some good answers. he better hope he has some good answers. >> i assume you agree? >> he's about to take on a very important job as chair of the senate foreign relations committee. i know bob menendez. he's a man of incredible and impeccable character and i hope he can get this behind him. >> were you watching the hearing today? >> i was. >> senator mccain, senator lindsey graham, they were pretty rough with him. >> well, it's not so much what the senators that questioned him do but what senator hagel did. i have to imagine a lot of people watching this hearing at the white house looking at each other saying, why did we think this was a good idea? this mans seemses unprepared, he seems not very nimble. the most appalling moment, the
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most troubling moment is where he said, about that question of me talking to the jewish lobby, i only said that on the record once. raising the question, how many times did you say it off the record, maybe it slipped your mind? he put in a poor performance. now, the democrats still have the votes but the question about this hearing is, the intensity of republican opposition. do they feel that they can get away with what they need to to filibuster him. to date the feeling has been, they will give him a vote, some number in the 40s, some number in the 50s, i think suddenly he looks not as good. >> he was preparing a lot. i'm sure he was bracing for all of them but it looks like he wasn't really as well-prepared as david frum said he should have been. >> i thought he was trying to be conciliatory, trying to get along and not upset the apple cart. he's somebody known as a
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maverick when he was in the united states senate. i think republicans are making a lot to do about nothing. to challenge him as senator mccain did today on whether or not he was wrong or right about the sur, come on. why don't you challenge him about what we're going to do about tunisia and syria and libya and keeping america's military strong. i thought it was a lot of nonsense. >> let's talk about chris christie, the governor of new jersey. a very popular governor up for re-election, a republican. george will quotes, let me read from a column in the washington post. the columnist. the presidency is the most personal vote people cast. he's quoting christie. candidates matter. he calls the gop's decision to length then the nominating process the stupidest thing the republican party ever did. you wind up with a good candidate who's damaged. do you agree with christie? >> i think all of the parties would do better with -- took less money and took less time and gave fewer veto points to
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small groups and more opportunity to be heard within the parties. >> our democracy is already under attack. these super pacs and in some cases delegates, we should get all 50 states other territories the opportunity to meet the candidates and to size them up and vote on them. i disagree that we should have a shortened process. >> you were a campaign manager for al gore. you came very close. al gore recently made $100 million selling his current tv -- $500 million sale. he got $100 million from al gentleman zeer from the government of qatar. >> can mogul al gore who has current tv and sell it to qatar
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which is an oil-based economy, can mobile al gore still exist with activist al gore? >> what is not sustainable about it? >> a nonfossil fuel-based buyer. >> look, they have the highest quality, most extensive best climate coverage of any network in the world. >> he was defending al jazeera. he was blasting the other u.s. networks getting this big money from oil, carbon-based companies. but al jazeera is owned by oil-based products. is he being critical? >> this is the transaction between two media companies. al gore as one of the investors, of course, had to weigh the decision very strongly but i don't think he's being hypocritical. he's one of, i guess, a lot of
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investors and current tv. >> he's defending al jazeera. a great qualitative news organization. i thought the people are suggesting that's being hypocritical, given where al jazeera is giving most of its money. >> i think the most interesting was matt lauer on the "today" show and al gore kept saying, i hear what you're saying, but i disagree. i recommend this to everybody with an impossible pr situation. senator menendez. this would be his answer. i hear what you're saying, but the allegations of the underage prostitutes in the dominican republic, i disagree. >> the incumbent democratic senator in new jersey, the mayor of booker, geraldo rivera thinking of running as a democrat. listen to this?
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>> i have been in touch with some people in the republican party in new jersey. i am truly contemplating running for senate against frank lautenberg or cory booker in new jersey. >> all right. give me your reaction. >> it's a great country. anybody can aspire to be anything, apparently. there has -- when you have weak parties that they become very bold and make their careers in nonpolitical ways, this is just one more example of this. we've seen this in a lot of other weak parties. this is a real call that we need stronger republicans, republican party in the northeast that can begin with people who succeed at the county level and town level and make their way through the political process. >> more the better. if booker chooses to be a candidate, frank lautenberg, a wonderful united states senator, i think they could beat geraldo
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any day, with or without my help. >> i've known her ral do for a long time. he could be a formidable candidate. let's see if he decides to do it. if he does it, let's say lautenberg retires or decides to stay in, a contest between lautenberg and cory booker, he's getting close to 90 years old but he's very smart, very popular. so is cory booker. >> geraldo has name recognition. >> i would say he has name recognition. >> and maybe deep pockets. we're getting information about u.s. companies targeted by chinese hackers. we have details on two big ones. that's coming up. also, a lot of focus on changes at cnn. that's right. at cnn recently. now dave letterman adds his own suggestions. you're going to want to see the top ten. i think your friends will understand. oh no, it's actually my geico app...see?
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they are all bracing for serious sibling rivalry at the super bowl. one the coach of the san francisco 49ers and the other couch of the baltimore ravens. here is cnn's john berman. >> wolf, it is brother against brother this sunday. what everyone is calling the har-bowl. how will it turn out for them? well, maybe there are some lessons. we decided to look back at pretty much all of the famous brothers in history. >> jim harbaugh. >> john harbaugh.
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>> coach, jim, john harbaugh, harbaugh. >> we've had a few fights, a few arguments, just like all brothers. >> like first brothers, meet cain, meet abel, see cain, kill abel. >> justice is a team sport. >> what does that mean? >> it means sports. football brothers. football brothers, hoops brothers, winkle brothers. >> i'm 6'5", 220, and there's two of them. >> what does that mean? >> it means jokes. morris brothers, stooge brothers. >> hello. >> what does that mean? >> it means power. emanuel brothers, castro brothers. castro brothers, bush brothers, kennedy brothers. >> be remembered simply as a good and decent man. we saw wrong and tried to right it. saw suffering and tried to heal
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it. >> it means genius. story brothers, flight brothers, circus brothers, blues brothers. >> are you the police? >> no, ma'am. we're musicians. >> someone say, musicians? jackson brothers, gibb brothers. ♪ >> we've had a few fights. we've had a few arguments just like all brothers. >> like romans brothers. crime brothers, car brothers, champ brothers, dr. joyce brothers. >> it's a blessing and a curse. >> jim, john, coach, coach, harbaugh, harbaugh. after the big game, will they be good brothers, bad brothers? they won't be step brothers. >> hey, are you awake? >> yeah. >> i just want you to know i hate you.
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>> no, no matter what happens, jim and john will always be super brothers. jim harbaugh has said it's too bad the brother theme is taking away the attention from the brothers. how could they possibly avoid it. the brothers who are so close in age will hold a news conference in new orleans on friday. wolf? >> john berman, thank you. that terrific, terrific brotherly report. john berman, excellent reporting. cnn's coverage of super bowl xlvii what it means only here on cnn. twins. i didn't see them coming. i have obligations. cute obligations, but obligations. i need to rethink the core of my portfolio.
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between 40 and 50 cars and semis piled up on interstate 70 outside indianapolis closing the highways in both directions. at least seven people are injured, some of them seriously. all are expected to survive. meteorologists in the area say it was snowing when the first crash happened but about 20 semis are just piled up. as you can imagine, the interstate is expected to be closed into the night.
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today both the "new york times" and wall street journal reveal they've been under attack
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by hackers in china that's been linked to china's military. mary snow is joining us with the latest. what's going on? >> wolf, "the wall street journal" just released a statement saying that the infiltration computer networks related to coverage china is an ongoing issue. new york times says the attacks were persistent and lasted four months with specific targets. the "new york times" reporting on a cyber attack on its own computers. the attack coincided with an investigative piece the paper had done on china's prime minister, published in october. security experts working with the times quickly concluded the hackers were from china and that some of the techniques were ones they've seen used by china's military in the past. >> this is very serious. this is a persistent, active --
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increasingly active campaign that has targeted u.s. defense companies and media organizations and activist groups and chinese disdents. >> "the times" say the hackers were looking for sources in the investigative story but the paper says the information for the article was based on public records and the paper believes the hackers entered through a spear fishing attack. >> all it takes is one e-mail, one cleverly worded employee, set to an employee or sometimes their boss or payroll intended them to click on a malicious link or open an attachment and once you click on that link, they are inside our network. >> hired by the "new york times" to secure its systems, they say it's all too common. it identifies the hackers as apt
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12, advanced, persistent threat. >> compromising universities at mom and mop shops, i call them, small organizations without a big cyber security program and those computers are being used as the beach head to hack blue chip american companies. >> he says companies are coming under constant attack but they just don't talk about it. china foreign ministry is denying any involvement with a spokesman saying all such alleged attacks are groundless, irresponsible ak cue sayings lacking solid proof or reliable research results. as news broke of the hacking, chinese television and the knew
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yor "new york times" says the probability of being attacked by the same group is very high. wolf? >> where do we go from here, mary? what are you hearing from experts? what are you saying? >> what they are saying, you know, just the fact that people are being educated about this is a big help, that while companies are constantly trying to secure their networks, they say often employees knowing what to look for in those phishing schemes that we're talking about is really crucial. as the reporter noted from the "new york times," all it takes is one employee clicking on a link and that exposes the network to all this kind of software that infiltrates the system. so they are hoping that he had indicati education will really help but this is a constant threat and the security spokesperson we spoke to is that companies are constantly coming under attack
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but they haven't gone public with it. >> mary snow in new york, thank you very much. you're in "the situation room." a latest threat reported from a jihadist group. the house intelligence committee chairman, mike rogers, is standing by live this hour. a 5-year-old boy held hostage for days now at an underground bunker. we asked the hostage negotiator what authorities can do about it. and with inauguration performance clouded in controversy, beyonce now speaking out to set the record straight. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. a chilling new terrorist threat
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in the united states across denmark and other juin european. it's prompted by french military actions against jihadist in northwest africa. let's go live to cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr. she's got the latest. barbara? >> the administration has been saying for months now that al qaeda is on the ropes but the u.s. intelligence committee is now saying something very different about a very different al qaeda threat. with the success of the attack on a guest plant in algeria, extremists are growing more daring. a senior u.s. intelligence official tells cnn, quote, what we have seen is intelligence suggesting the desire to carry out more attacks against western and u.s. interests in the region. though there are no specific targets yet that the u.s. knows of, one of those plotting
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mokhtar belmokhtar was behind the algeria attack. >> we are starting to see an increasing collaboration, sharing of funding, sharing recruiting efforts, sharing of weapons and explosives, and certainly sharing of ideology that is expanding and connecting these various organizations. >> if chuck hagel becomes the next secretary of defense, he already knows what he's facing. >> i will ensure we stay vigilant and keep up the pressure on terrorist organizations as they try to expand their affiliates around the world in places like yemen, somalia, and north africa. >> but when it comes to north africa, u.s. intelligence agencies may be of limited use to him. that senior u.s. official tells cnn, quote, we do not have the
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level of resources, the footprint or the cape bill peas we have in other theaters. after years of focusing on pakistan and afghanistan, the map has changed. from mali to algeria, niger, libya, and egypt, the obama administration is struggling to catch up. u.s. intelligence is now working with france whose own spy networks are more established in the former french colonies in africa. and the u.s. will set up a base in niger to fly over safe havens, hoping to catch terrorists before there is a direct threat to the u.s.'s homeland. >> i'm not ruling it out. we take al qaeda wherever they are very seriously and we are not going to rest on our laurels until we find that kind of specific and credible information. >> one thing that has officials very concerned, terrorists operating in africa have u.s., western, european, canadian pass sports that can travel readily and come back to their home
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countries and it may be very difficult to catch their movements, especially if they are plotting more attacks. wolf? >> very difficult indeed. barbara, thanks very much. let's take a closer look right now at these latest threats. the new terror front in northwest africa. joining us now is republican congressman, mike rogers of michigan. mr. chairman, thanks very much for coming in. >> wolf, thank you. how credible do you think these groups are right now? >> well, the first thing they have to do is determine the capability to do it. when you look at mokhtar, he clearly has the capability to put operatives outside of mali, libya, and algerian area. he traveled in the '90s in afghanistan and pakistan. he has the ability, i believe, to get operatives outside of that region and i think the intelligence committee supports that as well. that makes it a credible threat and something that you have to
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absolutely take seriously. >> and when he says these jihadist websites that he's planning some horrendous or huge attack against france or denmark or other countries in europe, does he have the capability for a huge attack as opposed to something more modest? >> well, there's always a little marketing in their efforts. the whole idea of terror is to create chaos and fear in large scale. some of that you have to take with a grain of salt. however, in their mind, the taking of the gas facility in eastern algeria was a huge success for him. it got them recruits and they knew this was not going to end well for them but that wasn't their purpose. it was a strategic change to go from taking people for ransom money to making a political statement about french -- france being in mali. that is a scary and concerning change. that was a huge success. it breeds more success for them. that's why you see this
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marketing i know the northern africa countries are all concerned about it and the french are doing a great job in chasing these folks out of northern mali. now the next huge question is, they have melted away. where do they go, who grabs aheld hold of them and what is their next target? >> so do you know if any plots have been thwarted? >> we can't say specifically that any plot has been thwarted. what we know now are different groups that are working together in ways we haven't seen before, gaining capability, gaining in popularity, gaining in their mind having these victories against recruits and this capability to go beyond these borders, it's something that we're taking very seriously. >> are they as capable as the al qaeda central, are they as capable as al qaeda that we used to know or is this a whole
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different kind of operation. >> that's yet to have been seen. they have been successful in the decades before they went and joined al qaeda. that gives them seasoned fighters, experienced jihadist, if you will, that now has access to al qaeda core technology. so ieds and suicide bombers, that they didn't employ in the past, they now have married that technology with these capabilities and that's what is so concerning and it is happening at a very rapid pace. again, their success will breed success. we know that they are infusing this new breed of jihadist technology when it comes to weaponry and improvised explosive devices, other tactics. that's all coming together and that brazen means we better take this seriously. >> congressman, i want to continue this conversation but i want to turn to syria. tensions are clearly rising as syria and its allies warn for retaliation for an israeli air strike that may have prevented the transfer of sophisticated
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weapons to militants. tom foreman has been looking into this. tom, what are you seeing? >> wolf, this is one of those things that we know a lot of things at this hour but many details are still missing. here's what we do know. sometimes in the early morning hours before dawn on wednesday, we believe that an undetermined number of israeli jets took off and flew from israel over into syria. we don't know which route they took but we know where they wound up. they wound up north of damascus, north of the capital. they hit a military research facility and imply that what the israelis were trying to do is help the militants trying to overthrow the syrian government but u.s. officials say that is not the case. the real target was this. a convoy carrying parts of sa-17 missiles. this is a missile system designed for surface-to-air work and it's primarily a guard, a
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defense system. what you would do with this is array it along a border or perhaps around a target that you really want to protect, a city or special facility. it's highly mobile. it's hard to track and it's pretty attractive. these missiles are designed to track and shoot down any planes or missiles that are coming in towards the thing that you are trying to protect. this is what u.s. officials say this strike was all about, wolf, hitting a convoy of those missiles. >> tom, you said this was a convoy connected to this weapons system. if that's the case, where was this convoy headed? >> well, it doesn't seem, according to intelligence officials, that it was intended for use inside syria. instead, for some time they have been worried that syria is transferring weapons like this, particularly these missiles, into lebanon so they get into the hands of hezbollah. hezbollah has long been an enemy of israel. it's been designated by the united states and many others as a terrorist group.
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so what would they do with this? the idea or fear is that if this missile system gets firmly established in the hands of hezbollah, they could set it up along their border on the northern side of israel. then, when conflict breaks out between lebanon, hezbollah based there and israel, they can could fire missiles in to israel, bigger types, and when the israeli air force tried to respond, they would have this system to try to blunt that response and defend them from that. that's the very capability that israeli officials would not want them to have. wolf? >> tom foreman, thanks very much. we're back with the chairman of the house intelligence committee, mike rogers. you're watching that report. do you want to elaborate? can you tell us what's going on? >> there are a couple things that are concerning. we've talked about the sheer factor of what kinds and sophisticated weapon systems syria has and them not necessarily being in control, leading up to the fall of assad
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or subsequent to that. when you see weapon systems of any type beginning to move around the country in places that don't make sense to its defense, you have to be very, very concerned, mainly because of irans involvement in the process of getting and maintaining these weapon systems. very sophisticated, very lethal, dangerous in the wrong hands, and i think it's prudent that these weapon systems not be allowed to fall to folks who have ill intent. >> not to move to hezbollah in lebanon. i assume when the israelis launch this, carrying these kinds of missiles, there is coordination or notification to the u.s. is that right? >> i'm really not in a good position to discuss exactly how those operations are conducted. i can tell you that the united states has an interest in making sure that groups like hezbollah don't come into possession of sophisticated weapon systems. it's something that we're concerned about.
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we're going to spend time and energy on and it's a plan that we have got to put together for these sophisticated conventional weapons systems moving forward or we're all going to pay a price. >> you think the iranians, syrians will retaliate against israel for this air strike? >> i would be surprised if they said they wanted to take on the israeli when they have all of these other problems facing them. it wouldn't be a great strategic decision for them. it doesn't mean they won't do it. if they think about it for more than 24 hours, they will opt to try to contain the problems that they have within the borders. >> remember when the israelis knocked out the syrian reactor, they didn't do anything about that. they didn't confirm that they did it. there's a new environment in that region. before i let you go, north korea is threatening another underground nuclear test. how credible is this threat? >> it's very credible. we have seen in the past that they have used this to their political advantage.
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the chinese have put pressure on them at their u.s. request. that's a good thing. >> to not do it? >> to not do it. however, they are pushing the envelope and i believe that this is this new, young leader who's decided that he needs to show that he's in charge, gain the credibility from the military and if that means further isolation through a nuclear test, i think he'll do it. >> kimjong-un. the next day he's launching a missile or threatening a nuclear test underground. i don't know which direction he's moving. >> i think he believes that he needs to get the supporter to prove that he's a hard liner and a leader and will continue -- the only way to do well in that country is being part of the military infrastructure and so he needs to keep that loyal if he's going to stay in charge. i think what you're seeing is that pressure from the military
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saying we need to move forward on the weapons program. you're either with us or against us. this is is the time to say i'm with the military. his tendencies are to try to find something different. we need to connect to that in some way. otherwise, we're going to find a nuclear north korea that is destabilizing to that peninsula. >> a million north korean troops along the dmz, 30,000 american troops right in between. this could be a hugely, hugely dangerous environment. >> very much so. >> we'll have you back. thanks very much for coming in. mike rogers is the chairman of the house intelligence committee. huge fireworks at the confirmation hearing as chuck hagel as chefs secretary. why is senator john mccain so angry at chuck hagel? and beyonce comes clean and since out to set the record
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straight. you're going to hear the whole thing. and more right here in "the situation room". ♪ o say, can you see so right now we'll give you... ...$10 off any turbo tax deluxe level software or higher! find thousands of big deals now... ...at officemax. mommy's having a french fry. yes she is, yes she is. [ bop ] [ male announcer ] could've had a v8. 100% vegetable juice, with three of your daily vegetable servings in every little bottle.
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senate colleagues and john mccain relentlessly ripped into the defense secretary nominee chuck hagel during his senate confirmation hearings. our chief congressional correspondent dana bash is joining us with details from capitol hill. for me it was a surprise how tough he was against hagel. >> it was very, very tough. the exchange was quite stunning. you could almost feel the heat in the room seven hours later. it's hard to believe these were two men that were so close that mccain said when he sees them on the floor of the senate, he feels a little lift. that's certainly not what he he or hagel felt today. john mccain's demand a yes or no
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answer. >> whether you are right or wrong about the surge. >> i'll explain why i made those comments. >> i want to know if you were right or wrong. that's a direct question. i expect a direct answer. >> reporter: mccain, a lead senate supporter of the 2007 military surge in iraq wants to know if chuck hagel, who was a senate opponent, now thinks he is wrong, especially about this comment. >> the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since vietnam if it's carried out. >> were you correct or incorrect? yes or no? >> my reference to the surge being a dangerous -- >> are you refusing to answer, mr. hagel? >> well, i am not going to give you a yes or no answer on a lot of things. >> so you refuse to answer that question. >> watching this tension, even outright scorn, you'd never know these two men were once the closest of friends and political allies n fact, when mccain ran for president in 2000 ark voter
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asked who he would want in his cabinet. listen to mccain's answer. >> as far as secretary of defense is concerned, there's a lot of people that could do that. one of them i think is senator chuck hagel could do that kind of job. >> reporter: that's right. the same man mccain lit into 13 years later in a confirmation hearing for the same post in president obama's administration. but they once had a bond even tighter than senate colleagues. a shared experience in vietnam. in fact, they were so close, hagel was mccain's 2000 campaign surrogate. >> he's a selfless friend. >> my friend, john mccain. >> reporter: hagel even introduced mccain at the convention that year. ironically, it was the iraq war that ripped them apart. mccain's lesson from vietnam, don't pull out when things go bad. hagel, don't add troops on a
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misguided war. >> i don't know if that would have been rirp required and cost us over 1,000 american lives and thousands of wuned. >> you don't know if the search would have been required. okay. >> mccain is sure he is right. >> history has already made a judgment about the surge, sir, and you're on the wrong side of it. your refusal to answer whether you were right or wrong about it is going to have an impact on my judgment as to whether to vote for your confirmation or not. >> now, mccain may vote against hagel but he's also made clear he will not brought hagel's confirmation. no senator has said that they will filibuster the confirmation. if that happens, it's unclear if hagel could find the 60 votes needed to get confirmed. >> even if he got all 55 democrats, the two independents, plus all the democrats, you would still need five republicans to break that filibuster. is it that uncertain, whether there are five republicans who would vote to confirm?
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>> reporter: it is. only one republican senator. only one of hagel's former republican senate colleagues has said that he would affirmatively vote for him and that is cochran of mississippi. i've talked to several republicans who are undecided but most of the republicans i talk to say they are going to vote against him. i should underscore, though, at this point i the democratic vote means that at least 51 democrats vote for him to be confirmed. >> just to be precise, dana, if one republican says he or she wants to filibuster, then there's a filibuster and they need 508 votes. >> reporter: the pou we are of the would definitely hurt chuck
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hagel. >> given the emotions expressed today and i didn't expect a filibuster right now. we'll see if that will happen to the confirmation of chuck hagel. dana, thanks very much for that report. a minor player in the super bowl drama stealing remarks and retractions about gays. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." inmates were made to make things. how i could rekindle that in people and get them back to being makers. there's so many things that could be big, world changing and all of the things that they do, it's a real excitement.
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leading up to any super bowl, there's always plenty of what's called trash talk, members of one team trying to talk down the other. but some comments by a san francisco 49er have so many people right now calling foul, he's had to apologize. cnn's brian todd is here in "the situation room." brian, tell our viewers what's going on. >> as you know, there are other story lines at the. . no one expected a backup player,
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but chris kul lee ver has done just that. he's taken the spotlight off the harbaugh brothers. he's an obscure reserve defensive back who's stolen the story lines at the super bowl. chris culliver of 49ers was asked about his feelings about gays. >> i don't do the gay guys. i don't do that. >> are there any on the 49ers? >> they ain't none on the 49ers. can't be with the sweet stuff. >> within hours, the pressure gathered critical mass. he would ask what he would say to the people of his team's home town, one of the most tolerant gay communities. >> i'm sorry if i offended anyone. that's not what i feel in my heart. >> the 49ers, who previously launched a campaign against the bullying of gays, issued a statement saying the team rejects culliver's comments.
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there's no mall las in culliver's heart. >> he regrets that. that's not who he is and what he really believes in. >> but culliver is part of an alpha male in the locker room. so far no one has ever come out as openly gay while actively playing. in four plus years trying out, tennessee titans and seattle seahawks, davis never acknowledged that he was gay. >> the ideas of masculinity, to prove that you're tough, that notion is very present in the nfl and in the locker room. >> davis says he does not see a player coming out as openly gay and pro sports for at least a couple of years. one thing that might help that along is if more heterosexual players showed support. some of them have. one notable on the other side of the team this week, at the super
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bowl, brendan has spoken out strongly in recent weeks about equality of marriage. some heterosexual players coming out. >> one prominent gay activist says he should be suspended. >> that's right. an editor at "the huffington post" says for the nfl to be taken seriously when it claims to be taking on homo phobia, the league has to suspend chris culliver. he would not answer the question when we asked whether the league would suspend culliver. >> brian todd, thanks very much. looking forward to the super bowl. a terrifying standoff involving a 5-year-old boy enters a third day. what will it take to get him out of that bunker? i'd ask a leading hostage negotiator next. before copd...
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somewhere deep underneath this alabama property is where a 5-year-old boy is being held hostage by a suspect who grabbed him off a school bus after killing the bus driver. police do not believe the child has been physically harmed. the suspect has allowed them to lower medication along with coloring books and crayons down a pipe into the bunker. the suspect was supposed to have been in court before this incident occurred to face charges for shooting at his neighbors. as the standoff goes on, concerns for this child's well-being are growing. joining us to talk about this, kidnap negotiator, chr
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christopher voss. >> you have to let the gentleman inside know that they are trying to create a way for him to tell his story. it's going to take time and that's what they are trying to communicate to him. they are trying to earn his trust and demonstrate to him that he can in fact trust them. >> how much more complicated -- i assume it is -- is it because it's a little boy being held hostage as opposed to, let's say, an adult or adults? >> it does become more complicated but also gives them the opportunity to work with the individual on the inside, to look after the little boy, to sort of collaborate with him, if you will, and gives them an opportunity to create a working relationship with him. >> this is an underground bunker. presumably there are supplies in there. this could go on. >> right. this individual has prepared for something like this for some time and everybody on the outside understands that he's prepared to be in there for a
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long time and as long as they are not in a hurry, they can resolve this. >> so you basically have to keep on talking, maintaining a dialogue, anything else? >> that's pretty much it. earn his trust, small things make big gains. demonstrate in little ways that he can put his faith in their ability to essentially get his message out and to understand his story. >> who is the best person to talk to a hostage holder like this? a relative, a friend, an fbi negotiator? i mean, who does the talking? >> well, generally it can be anyone best at addressing a rapport with him. typically friends and family can be helpful in understanding him. in many cases it's better for them to offer their thoughts and guidance as opposed to being directly involved in the conversation. >> have you been involved in something similar to this when you were an active duty negotiator? >> i have, yes. >> is the outcome a happy
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ending, usually not a happy ending? in other words, what should we be bracing for? >> as long as the threat level stays down, as long as they listen to him, there's a very good chance that they will get everybody out of this safely. that's their goal. the chances of that happening are very high. >> let's hope. i'm very worried about it but let's hope. chris voss, thanks very much for coming in. >> my pleasure. retailers putting a limit on how much ammunition a shopper can buy each day. we'll tell you why. and beyonce is now speaking out and singing out to set the record straight. and cut! very good. people are always asking me how we make these geico adverts. so we're taking you behind the scenes. this coffee cup, for example, is computer animated. it's not real. geico's customer satisfaction is quite real though. this computer-animated coffee tastes dreadful. geico. 15 minutes could save you 15 % or more on car insurance.
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in the recent wake of gun control laws, cnn crime and justice correspondent joe johns is working the story for us. he's got some details. increase in demand. it's pretty dramatic. >> it's all about the market, wolf. it's all about supply and demand. the market for guns is red hot and so is the market for ammunition. it's one of the factors driving it. the world's largest retailer is limiting the amount of ammunition sha shoppers can buy. walmart set a maximum of three boxes a day. a spokesman told cnn we're trying to serve as many customers as possible. we are in contact with our suppliers and we'll look at our purchase limits once the suppliers are in a better place. and walmart isn't the only one. a cabela store said they are
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limiting ten boxes a day, mainly for semiautomatic weapons. there are reports of increase demands and ammunition shortages nationwide. firearms dealers have a hunch why. fbi background checks, the most dependable indicator, has reached record highs. more guns means more ammo. higher traffic at gun ranges. the blue ridge arsenal in virginia said they have increased activity and shooters are buying more rounds. >> we are averaging about eight rounds per customer. >> reporter: and the threat of increase taxes could be a concern, too. in connecticut, there's a proposal to have a 50% tax on ammo. whatever the cost, walmart's decision to set limits on ammunition is what richard blumenthal would like to see
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happen on a broader scale. he's proposed legislation that would limit ammunition sales to individuals and require background checks for ammo as well. >> right now, a fugitive, a felon, a drug addict, a domestic abuser can walk into a store, buy a shopping cart full of ammunition. >> what's not entirely clear is how walmart will enforce this limit. it doesn't appear that that's anything in place to stop customers from making multiple trips to the same store in a day or going to different stores. we've reached out to walmart on that. >> do we know what kind of ammunition is being sold? >> we've talked to a few folks in the field and a lot of them said two to three rounds. these are rounds that would go into an ar-15, which is a very popular weapon that people all over the country are buying and also the source of controversy here on capitol hill when we talk about semi automatic weapons. >> joe johns reporting for us. thank you. anderson cooper is joining us from george washington university. anderson, you have a major town
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hall tonight on guns in america. what should we expect? >> we wanted to convene a discussion and so often this ends up with people talking past each other. we want it to be a discussion between people as much as possible. we have representatives of the brady campaign and a board member of the nra. people who have been affected by gun violence, people have used guns to protect themselves and their families. we wanted this to try to be a discussion and get a lot of different view points in and see if there are any common grounds between those who are great advocates for more gun control and advocates for gun rights opposed to greater gun control or greater background check. so we wanted to try to look for common ground and not just look at guns but also mental health issues and where that is in the equation and school safety issues. it's going to be an interesting discussion tonight, wolf.
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>> i'm really looking forward to it. i hope you find common ground. this is a critically, critically important issue for our entire country. anderson's town hall tonight, 8:00 p.m. eastern, only here on cnn. up next, a catastrophic flooding taking an enormous economic toll on australia and they have an impact felt around the world. ake someone happy.♪ ♪it's so important to make someone happy.♪ ♪make just one heart to heart you - you sing to♪ ♪one smile that cheers you ♪one face that lights when it nears you.♪ ♪and you will be happy too. that your mouth is under attack, from food particles and bacteria. try fixodent. it helps create a food seal defense for a clean mouth
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massive flooding is having a devastating impact in australia. lisa sylvester is monitoring that. what's the latest? >> wolf, while the raging floodwaters are forcing a major mining company to cut its sales
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forecast for the year, heavy rain over the last week has cut lines and shut down ports and mines. more than half of the world's ports come from australia. and the justice department has filed a lawsuit attempting to block the proposed $21 billion merger of anheuser-busch with mexico's group of modelo. the suit argues that the deal, which would give anheuser-busch control of more than half of the beer market would raise prices on american consumers. and it is the end of an era. >> i have plenty of new outlets. i ran this morning for 30 minutes. >> does that include drive heaving. >> and wet and sure i thought i'd have a job right now but i don't need to work. >> okay. it's pretty sad. after seven seasons, 14 emmys and 12 screen actor guilds
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awards, "30 rock" will air its final sitcom tonight. many say it's changed comedy forever. we've even heard it compare to the legendary mary tyler moore show. and there is a long line of celebrities who guest starred on "30 rock" among them, oprah, al gore, and matt damon and then there is this little clip. >> you listen-clip. >> you listen to me, blitzer, either cnn gets back on the avery jessop story or i'll tell everyone your real name, steel hammerhands. hello? steel? mr. hammerhands? >> oh, i love that moment. even our own wolf blitzer got a little shout-out in one episode. >> how'd he know that? >> yeah, how'd he know that, right, wolf? we wish them well. and people will say that comedy is really hard to do. they have to do all that clever writing, so our hats off to them, to everybody behind that
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production, for seven seasons. >> you can call me steel. >> i will call you steel. you've got steel, you got blitz, all of these great nicknames. >> and right after the first gulf war, on "saturday night live," they accused me of make up my name for the war. so they said, well -- they said, what's your real name? howitzer explosion guys? >> i like wolf. >> it's my real name. yes, it is. the most frequently asked question i get. it is my real name. >> not wolfgang -- >> no, just wolf. not steel. beyonce breaking her silence, i should say, on the inauguration lip syncing controversy, breaking into song. you won't want to miss it. that's next. me too! and nasal co [ tissue box ] he said nasal congestion. yeah...i heard him. [ female announcer ] tylenol® cold multi-symptom nighttime relieves nasal congestion. nyquil® cold and flu doesn't.
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then you're going to love this. right now they're only $14.95! wow-a grt deal just got a whole lot better. hurry. $14.95 won't last. we're getting word of an explosion in mexico city. an explosion at the mexico state-run pemex oil company, right in the capital of mexico. details are sketchy right now, but the live pictures that are coming in are very dramatic. they show a lot of injuries, people being whisked away in
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ambulances and a lot of debris on the ground. pemex, which is the oil company in mexico, they issued a statement saying that there was an explosion at what they said were the administrative offices of pemex. the blast injured workers, prompted an evacuation of personnel. all this, according to a company spokesman. and you can see these live pictures coming in from mexico city right now. we don't know the cause of this explosion. as i said, the details are very, very sketchy right now. but you can see what's going on, if you look closely on the ground. you see a lot of debris there. you see a lot of emergency personnel. they are working, and we saw a lot of emergency vehicles on the scene as well. this is an area right in the heart of mexico city, and clearly, a very, very disturbing image that we are seeing. we're getting a little bit more information that's coming into "the situation room."
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but as i said, we're learning about this as you're learning about it right now. and you can see a lot of police, a lot of emergency personnel. some other shots, some other pictures that we saw earlier, saw smoke cominge ining out of building. it's a huge building, a huge complex in mexico city. but, again, we have no idea what caused this explosion. an official statement from pemex, the oil company, saying it was an explosion in the administrative offices of mexico's pemex oil company. we're getting more information. our own juan carlos lopez has been monitoring mexican television. he's coming into "the situation room" to brief us on what's going on as well. he's, obviously, been following this. people all over the world right now are beginning to follow what's going on in mexico city. but it's a situation that is obviously, unfolding right now. mexico city, one of the alalarg cities in the world. and this huge pemex office
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building and right, right, right in the heart of mexico city. we're being told by one of our mexico city affiliates that at least 22 people are hurt. that's been the initial reporting, but that number clearly could go way, way up. juan carlos lopez is here. you've been monitoring mexican television and have been on the phone, juan carlos. what are you learning? >> what we've learned is an explosion in building b-2 of the pemex tower in mexico city. the building have been evacuated, they've lost power, they're also talking about people trapped inside the building and in nearby buildings. still not confirmed what type of explosion it was. this was while everyone was working, so still -- and i was running up here, so, following also on twitter, that's where pemex is putting up most of their information. >> are they saying how many people are trapped inside, in this huge office tower? >> the information information
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speaks about 22 wounded, but that's -- >> but they've already been evacuated? >> yes. there's still no information -- they have no power, they're trying to find out who's in the building, how to get them out. they're evacuating all their employees, as i said. there's no power, and still very confusing scene in mexico city. you were mentioning one of the largest cities in the world, and pemex, one of the most important companies in that country. >> it's a huge state-run oil company, pemex. well known around the world, as we continue to look at these pictures coming in from our affiliates in mexico city. tell us a little bit more about pemex, is there any controversy, as far as you know, juan carlos, involving this oil company? >> pemex is the state-owned oil company, and oil was nationalized by mexico many years ago. there's controversy over the future of the oil industry, of u.s. participation in that industry, and of the amount of income that mexico receives from oil and from the exploration in the gulf of mexico. it's a very important part of
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the mexican economy and it's a vital source of income for the mexican government. >> but as far as you know, juan carlos, and i know you know mexico well, have there been threats to pemex or anything like this over the years? or is this out of the blue? >> this is out of the blue. and we can think about other cities where there has been incidents related to terrorism. not mexico city. we haven't seen that in recent times. we haven't seen any controversy. there was a conflict some time ago, but not in mexico city and not an attack of this sort. usually when we report about mexico and we report about incidents, many related to the drug trade. but this, pemex, the main oil company, well, it is a surprising story. >> and we see a lot of evacuations going on and you can see emergency personnel taking those who have been injured, those who have been injured in this huge office complex, they're taking them to, i assume, hospitals in the area.
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you're getting more information? >> i'm following the company's twitter feed and we're going to have it on screen. right now, what they said, what the last message that came out from pemex was 24 minutes ago and it says, "what happened was an explosion in building b-2 of the administrative center. we have wounded and damages at the building and the mezzanine of the building." and this is from their official account. they have another account, which hasn't been updated, with financial information. so that's most of what we know at the moment. the last message we had was 24 minutes ago. they're still trying to determine what caused the explosion. but we know that they've closed different avenues so that the emergency units can go and help the unit. these are the authorities are also informing that they are setting up a command center, a command post center, and they are closing out the area. the company has confirmed there are wounded in this building.
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and as i said, they're mentioning a specific part of the building, it's an administrative building, the main offices of pemex. >> and we don't know where the explosion was, on what floor. rafael romo is joining us from the cnn center in atlanta, our latin american affairs editor. rapha rapha rafael, what else are you learning? >> one of the most important things i've heard is that mexican authorities are saying that up to 15 people are trapped in the tower, under the debris that resulted after the explosion. we also have been looking at emergency personnel present at the scene and all of the streets around this very big tower are blocked off to traffic right now. the mexico city authorities have mobilized emergency personnel and are currently trying to determine what was the cause of the explosion, but the images that we're getting through our
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affiliates show a lot of debris around the area, they show a lot of damage, and mexican authorities are talking about significant damage around the tower. but, again, we don't have an idea of how many people might have died, wolf. >> we don't know anything about casualties. we know there have been injuries. do we know what floor this explosion occurred on, rafael? are you getting any information on that? >> it is too early to determine. it seems like the damage might have been, not only on one single floor, but several floors of the facility. so, again, there's a number of possibilities about what might have caused this, and at this time, officials are just not sure. they're barely beginning to assess the situation and send emergency personnel to that area. and again, wolf, just to reiterate, this is a tower in mexico city, of course, the mexican capital, that belongs to
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pemex. pemex is the state oil company and mexico oil is nationalized. it longs to t s to the govern. so this is essentially a government building where the explosion occurred. >> and i want to alert our viewers around the united states and around the world, we're watching the situation out of mexico city. i'm wolf blitzer reporting, juan carlos lopez is here as well. rafael, stand by for a moment. juan carlos, you're getting more information? >> it seems that the explosion might have happened in a basement in the building. that's the initial information. and we are hearing the evacuation, obviously, that means that there is a way for people to get out of this building. they are trying to have an expedient -- and mexicans are prepared for these kind of events. remember, it's a seismic city. people are well-prepared for emergencies. they are used to having drills normally to leave these buildings. and that's what they're going on right now. as i said, the initial information is that it happened in the basement. >> in the basement. so we don't know if this was a
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deliberate splplanned explosion. all this information is obviously very sketchy, juan carlos. >> it's very fluid. this is what we received from pemex and mexican media. that's what we're report right now. we're just waiting to confirm and see what really happened. and as you said, this was something that was deliberately done, or it could be an accident, electrical explosion, something of that sort in a building, with thousands of people. >> this was, until recently, the callest building in mexico, until 2002. built in 1854. 51 stories, 51 floors. and, it's, obviously, a very, very well-known building, one of the landmarks in mexico city. once again, it houses the administrative offices of pemex, of mexico's largest companies, the world's fifth largest oil and gas company.
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so this is obviously a huge, huge complex in mexico city. injuries are reported after this explosion. and juan carlos is hearing it was in the basement of this huge building that pemex operates in mexico city. the blast injured workers, prompted an evacuation. but we are told, we are told that there are people trapped inside this building as well. we have a colleague, a journalist who's there in mexico city. sal, what are you hearing? >> reporter: hi, i'm in mexico city, and there is apparently one person that has been killed because of that blast. and 20 people have injuries, because of this explosion, but now, it happens like one hour
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and 15 minutes ago. the people, i mean, the police officer is flying a helicopter, trying to find what was the -- what was the -- this information, this blast. because it's very complex to understand, because, they don't have -- and you know, maybe they thought at the end, at the first time, it could be a bomb, but, no, it's just like an explosion for some. >> sol rivera, explain in spanish, because we've got wouldn't carlos lopez, rafael
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romo, obviously, they both speak spanish, explain in spanish, and then they'll be precise and tell us what you're hearing about the cause of this explosion, where it occurred in this pemex building in mexico city, and what you're hearing about injuries and casualties. go ahead, say it in spanish, and then rafael or juan carlos will translate. >> okay. [ speaking spanish ] >> all right. hold on a second, sol. i want juan carlos to translate. >> what sol is saying is that the information that she has is that there is at least 20 wounded, one person could be trapped, and that so far, the information that she is
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receiving is that this was an explosion in a machine room, in some type of part of the building, not related to any bomb or attack. that's what she is getting at the moment, that it was something related to the building, to machines in the building, that could be elevator machinery, could be power systems. that's what she's getting. now, i have information, wolf, that is very interesting. i was going through the twitter county of president enrique -- >> the new president of mexico? >> the new president of mexico. the last message he had was 19 hours is that pemex is and will belong to the mexicans. so it could be no relation, no connection to that, but it's very interesting that's the last message he had. and there was one previous to that, saying that nobody should be confused that they would not privatize pemex or any of the mexican natural resources. >> juan carlos lopez, thank you. sol rivera, thanks very much, and rafael romo, thanks to you as well. we'll obviously stay on top of this explosion at the pemex
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building in mexico city and update our viewers as more information comes into "the situation room." i want to thank all of you for getting that information. as soon as we get more, we'll share it with our viewers. let's get to some other news that's unfolding right now. he's the man that president obama wants to lead the pentagon. and while former senator chuck hagel has many supporters, even some of them are questioning his showing at his confirmation hearing before the senate armed services committee today. he was grilled over the course of several hours, and at times he seemed ill-prepared, evasive, stumbling at some time, and sometimes having to clarify his own clarification. our jessica yellin is joining us now. what's been the reaction over at the white house? >> reporter: there's no doubt, this was not the performance they were hoping for from senator hagel, but officials here insist they are not worried their confirmation might be in jeopardy. they insist they will still have the votes. all that said, wolf, you have to notice that this is not the type
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of normal treatment a former member of the u.s. senate gets from his colleagues, typically. it was feisty, it was aggressive, at times it was hostile, and senator hagel seemed to get lost in his own words. former senator chuck hagel sat alone at the witness table, fielding intense, sometimes hostile questions from his former senate colleagues, including one-time close friend, john mccain. >> i want to know if you were right or wrong. that's a direct question, i expect a direct answer. >> i'm not going to give you a yes or no answer. >> well, let the record show that you refuse -- >> reporter: that exchange centered on hagel east past opposition to the iraq surge, a surge senator mccain championed. in his opening remarks, hagel tried to pivot away from controversy over his past statements. >> no one individual statement defines me, my beliefs, or my record. >> reporter: he insisted, he will lead, not follow at the pentagon and around the world. >> america must engage in the
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world. not retreat from the world. >> reporter: for hours, one republican after another accused the former two-term nebraska senator of shading his true beliefs. among their concerns, past statements criticizing israel. >> do you think it's right that israel would committing, a quote, sickening slaughter on the floor of the senate? >> reporter: and complaining about intimidation by the pro-israel lobby. >> name one person, in your opinion, that's intimidated be the israel lobby in the united states senate? >> the use of intimidation, i should have used influence. >> reporter: more questions centered on this report that he co-authored, that supports the elimination of all nuclear weapons, even if the u.s. goes first. he says he doesn't agree with all of its findings. >> why would you ever put your name on a report that is inherently inconsistent with what you're telling us today? >> reporter: but the biggest flash point, iran, where he stumbled talking about basic
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u.s. policy, calling iran, a quote, legitimate government. a democrat followed up. >> but i do not see iran or the iranian government as a legitimate government and i would like your thoughts on that. >> what i meant to say, should have say, it's recognizable. >> reporter: he also meant to say he supports the president's policy of prevention, meaning the u.s. will try to prevent iran from developing a nuclear weapon. but instead, he said -- >> i have just been handed a note that i misspoke and said i supported the president's position on containment. if i said that, i meant to say that i obviously -- his position on containment, we don't have a position on containment. >> just to make sure your correction is clear, we do have a position on containment, which is that we do not favor containment. >> we do not favor containment. that's the president's position and that was my position. >> reporter: wolf, there's no question that he got bruised in the hearing today, but it would seem no disastrous remarks and let's be honest, getting bruised
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in front of the cameras is part of the game. i covered tim geithner's confirmation hearing. he was beaten up and battered for his positions on not paying his own taxes, and yet he went on to become the treasury secretary, with 60 votes. so one lives and learns and all that matters in the end, wolf, is getting the votes. they believe here they've got the count, wolf. >> they've got the -- obviously, the democrats on board, at least almost all of them, i'm sure. 55 democrats in the senate, but if one republican decides to filibuster, they need 60. at which point they would need five republicans to join them. are they confident in the white house, they will have those five republicans to get to 60? >> they are saying that they believe -- the answer is yes. at the end of the day, they think this is a former member of the u.s. senate and the president's pick for defense secretary, he will get the man he wants, yes. >> all right. jessica yellin at the white house with that. thank you very much. senator -- another senator in a
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powerful new position, fighting back against some serious new allegations. among them, using prostitutes. what's going on? and that alabama bunker where a 5-year-old boy is being held hostage, we're now learning new details about what's going on there as well. [ rosa ] i'm rosa and i quit smoking with chantix. when the doctor told me that i could smoke for the first week... i'm like...yeah, ok... little did i know that one week later i wasn't smoking. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation,
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he's just taken on a powerful new position. the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee. kate balduan is here to help us pick up this story. this is awkward. >> this is still a developing story as we speak, wolf. but now this senator, we're talking about new jersey democrat, robert menendez, is finding himself fighting some very serious allegations of misconduct involving travel and prostitutes. cnn's national political correspondent, jim acosta, has been digging into details on this. jim, what's the latest on this really troubling story? >> kate and wolf, senator menendez was carefully avoiding any run-ins with reporters on capitol hill today, and leaders on both sides of pennsylvania avenue appear to be backing away from the senator, at least for
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the moment. here they are, back in 2010. democratic senator bob menendez and his friend, political contributor, and florida eye doctor, salomon melgin in the dominican republic. as it turns out, the senator's trip to the dominican republic were of such a concern to his staff that he reimbursed melgin $50,000 for the cost of charter flights furnished by the doctor. that payment was made earlier this month after a complaint had been made to the senate ethics committee and just weeks before menendez was made chairman of the powerful senate relations committee. earlier this week, senator majority leader, harry reid, cautioned reporters to be wary of the story. but reid's office now tells cnn that the majority leader was unaware of the reimbursements when he issued that warning. >> do you think he's handled this matter appropriately? >> first of all, bob menendez is my friend, he's an outstanding senator. he's now the new chair of the foreign relations committee. any questions in this regard direct to him. i don't know anything about it.
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>> reporter: the watchdog group, citizens for responsibilities and ethics in washington, or c.r.e.w. first learned about the senator's trips ander reported them to the fbi last year. they received an e-mail from a man named peter williams, who said that menendez was traveling to the dominican republic to meet with prostitutes. that timing raised flags with c.r.e.w.'s melanie sloan. >> i think if all of the allegations together prove to be true, that would certainly suggest questions about senator menendez's fitness for the chairmanship and perhaps even his position in the senate. but i think at this point, it's important to withhold judgment, given the many questions about the source of these allegations and the timing of these allegations. >> menendez is also a member of the senate's gang of eight, working on immigration reform. when asked about the impact of the allegations on that issue, the white house had no comment. >> i just don't have anything.
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>> reporter: all day long, menendez steered clear of reporters, appearing only briefly in public on the senate floor. the other democratic senator from new jersey, frank lautenberg, said the allegations facing menendez are a concern. >> all of this are infractions as they are reported, it's too bad. and i don't want to be part of the external review at all. it's too -- yeah, it's much too sensitive a thing to be discussed randomly. so, thank you. >> reporter: a menendez spokesperson tells cnn that the senator does plan to stay on as chairman of the foreign relations committee. that spokesperson also says that the senator has also paid for all of those flights now, reimbursed dr. melgin for all of those flights down to the
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dominican republic, and as for those allegations of prostitutes, the senator's office says those allegations are politically motivated and false. wolf and kate? >> all right. he's denying the allegations. we'll see how it continues. keep us updated. thanks so much, jim. the president of the national rifle association says his family is getting death threats. we're going to talk to him. that's coming up. ...so as you can see, geico's customer satisfaction is at 97%. mmmm tasty. and cut! very good. people are always asking me how we make these geico adverts. so we're taking you behind the scenes.
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a shooting outside of an
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atlanta middle school today. one young man was shot. his injuries, apparently, are not life threatening. a teacher was slightly injured as the school was being evacuated. the shooter, a fellow student, is in custody. >> and in texas, a prosecutor was gunned down outside a county courthouse, east of dallas. the assistant d.a. was shot several times as he got out of his car. a manhunt is still underway for the shooter and the fbi is taking part. >> and in arizona. the body of a shooting suspect has been found, apparently after he took his own life. the man was suspected of killing one person, injuring two others at an office building in phoenix yesterday. and david keene, the president of the national rifle association, is here in "the situation room." david, thanks for coming in. >> always a pleasure. >> another rash of shootings, including at a school in atlanta today. what's going on? >> copy cat kinds of things. that's the kind of publicity, that's the sort of thing that happens. it's unfortunate, but it's what happens. >> you know, a lot of people want action to be taken. i'm going to play a clip for
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you, because it's come back. this is 1999, wayne lapierre, the executive vice president of the nra, said this. >> we think it's reasonable to provide mandatory, instant criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. no loopholes anywhere for anyone. >> why was it reasonable in 1999, but from your perspective, not reasonable now? >> at that time, the nic system, the national instant background check system was being set up, and we support that system, and we supported it well. the problem is, the system is not working very well. it's overcrowded and if you dump more people into it, it's going to get worse. we've been urging that the system should be fixed so it works and -- >> if the system is fixed, will you support universal background checks? >> universal background checks and a check at a gun show are two different things. right now, under existing law, if the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms wanted to require people at a gun show to
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go to a booth that they had and have a background check, they could do that. when you talk about what they call a universal background check, that's very, very different. that includes all private sales, and there was one of the witnesses before the senate judiciary committee yesterday, a police chief who urged that. the fact of the matter is that that covers sales between a father and a son and all of these sorts of things, if you're, let's say you sell your shotgun -- >> let's get back to the gun show loophole. if they have a system that works, would you favor background checks for every sale at a gun show? >> we'll want to see that. we'll want to see them get the system fixed and then we'll take a look at it. >> why just take a look at it. why not just try? i think you've said and it's kind of acknowledged that it's a huge uphill battle to try to pass any kind of comprehensive, stricter gun control legislation at this point. the saassault weapons ban, that seems to be an uphill battle. but this idea of the universal background checks, closing this gun show loophole, i know
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they're two different things -- >> those are very different things. >> but take the example of paul ryan, former vice presidential candidate, he has an "a" rating with the nra, he was asked about closing the gun show loophole, and this is what he said to the new jersey sentinel. take a listen. >> i think what we should look into is someone who's not legally allowed to buy a gun, buying one, and let's figure that out. i think we need to find out how to close these loopholes and do it in such a way that doesn't infringe upon people's second amendment rights. >> that's the key. if you can prevent people who shouldn't have a gun from having one, without burdening private citizens -- >> so there's an opportunity? >> i've said that before. i'll talk to anybody about anything. the fact of the matter is, though, that what we're interested in is things that will reduce crime and will reduce the possibility that there'll be another one of these shootings. and even at this hearing, this
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week, before the senate judiciary committee, there was beginning to be a focus on the whole mental health problem. >> listen to joe johns. he's our correspondent. he did a piece here in "the situation room" yesterday, speaking about the influence of your organization, the nra, the impact that it's had in the last election. listen to this. >> reporter: during the 2012 campaign, the nra flooded the air waves with ads, targeting senate candidates with a low nra rating, like tim kaine in virginia, and sherrod brown in ohio. in fact, figures from the nonpartisan center for responsive politics show the nra spent over $4 million on senate campaigns last year, losing seven out of eight races where they spent over $100,000. >> why? >> because those races weren't decided on second amendment issues. when we have a race, in which there's a candidate who's very clear on the second amendment, and one who's opposed to it and that becomes an issue, then believers of the second amendment go out and --
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>> did you spend money in missouri? >> did claire mccaskill's race? >> no -- >> you didn't -- >> we didn't see a possibility we were going to win. >> because of the comments -- >> when we get into a political season, we look at everybody else. we la look at where we can maxie our influence, where the people that we support are, and where the people that we oppose are. a better example of the clout, not of the nra, because it isn't us, it's the gun owners that look to us for leadership, was the wisconsin recall election with governor scott walker, who was clearly a second amendment supporter, had been for his entire career, running against an opponent who was clearly not and hadn't been for his entire career -- >> david, let me -- >> -- in that race, the whole six-point margin was attributed to second amendment voters. so there has to be a clear contest. >> let me ask you real quick, gabrielle giffords' husband, mark kelly, the astronaut, was here in "the situation room" yesterday and wolf spoke with him and asked him to speak directly to the camera, to the nra. listen to what he said.
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>> well, we've had many, many mass murders in this country. i mean, we've had a lot of them, you know, especially recently. what we saw in newtown, in colorado, and in tucson, this is unacceptable. i think people understand that when somebody does a mass shooting and they use a semi-automatic weapon, an assault rifle, twice as many people are hurt and injured. >> i want to get your response to that, but also in the context of, you were in the hearing room yesterday, when gabrielle giffords gave that very emotional opening statement. you heard her speak. so what do you say to her and her husband. they're both gun rights owners, they both support the second amendment, but they've also both faced this horrible tragedy and they want to see more stricter gun laws. >> well, i think the stricter gun laws sort of generically, is not the answer. but i will tell you, mark testified yesterday, and pointed out that in arizona, over 100,000 people who have have been adjudicated with severe mental problems have not been added to the database, and
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suggested that it was possible, had that been done, this might not have happened. most of these mass shootings are people who others around them have spotted as having something wrong. in the aurora shooting, the only person that acted on that was a gun dealer -- >> so are you and mark kelly on the same side of this issue? >> those people need to be in the system. >> are you and mark kelly on the same side of this issue? >> on the question of putting the mentally ill in the system, absolutely. >> we've got to go, but "the daily caller" has an interview with you, where you are quoted as saying that there have been threats made against your son and daughter in the wake of the deadly shooting in newtown. >> sure, against me and against wayne lapierre. >> what kind of threats? >> my son has the same name as i have and he has a facebook page, and somebody said that she should be killed. and he and my daughter responded -- i'm not a technical guy, so i'm not the guy to do this, and said that, actually, i'm not him, i'm his son, but both my sister and i agree that he's not that bad a guy and you
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probably shouldn't kill him. and they came back and said, well, since we know you're his children, we ought to kill you since he knows what it will feel like. >> i assume you've notified local police? >> we turn that stuff over, but what that's an example of not that somebody's going to kill me, because that's probably not going to happen, and if it is, nobody can probably control it, but it's the incivility of political discourse in this country. and i don't mind, i'll talk to anybody whether they agree with me or disagree with me, but we ought to have a level of civility in our discussions about public policy and politics that rules that stuff out. >> totally. david, thanks very much for coming in. >> in less than 90 minutes, anderson cooper is asking the question, can there be a solution to america's gun problems? be sure to watch "guns under fire: an "a.c. 360" town hall special" coming up at 8:00 eastern right here on cnn. the man who says he was behind the manti te'o girlfriend
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♪ syria and its allies are threatening retaliation for an israeli air strike. kate's still here and has that and some of the day's other top stories. kate? >> clearly tensions are high in israel and gas mask distribution has increased as syria, iran, and hezbollah warn of dire consequences in response to israel's air strike inside syria. u.s. officials say yesterday's air strike hit a convoy and may have prevented the transfer of sophisticated weapons to hezbollah militants in lebanon. other stories we've been telling you about. the man who says he was behind the manti te'o girlfriend hoax is now speaking out. ronaiah tuiasosopo says he was in love with the former notre dame football star but eventually decided to end it. here's part of his interview on
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the "dr. phil" show. >> there were many times when manti and lennay had broken up before, but every time that, you know, either i would try to end it or he would, or lennay would, or he would, it was like they would break up and something would bring them back together, whether it was something going on in his life or in lennay's life, in this case, in my life. i wanted to end it, because after everything i had gone through, i finally realized that i just had to move on with my life. >> manti te'o says he never met the woman he believed to be his girlfriend in person and that the relationship was carried out by e-mail and telephone. coast-to-coast, on a private jet for the price of a business class ticket. a company called black jet is offering travel once reserved for only the rich and famous, well, now it's going to bring it to everybody. it's selling seats on an eight-passenger private jet for $3,500, with service currently
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a hostage drama now in its third day. >> a 5-year-old is being held inside a bunker by a gunman who snatched him off a school bus after killing the driver. cnn's george howell is in
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midland city, alabama. george, it's now into its third day, as wolf said, which is amazing. so what is the latest? >> reporter: well, kate, you know, we were expecting a news conference tonight, an update from investigators, but that update has been canceled. in fact, all of the updates today were canceled. so it leads us back to the last time that we got information from investigators, last night, and what they said was that they believe that the young boy, the 5-year-old, is physically unharmed. and that is the good news that we've been holding on to ever since. but, still, he is being held against his will inside this bunker. now, one person who has actually seen this bunker is a neighbor that i spoke to just the other day, the same person who says that he fired a pistol at him and his family. and he took some time today to explain to me this place where dikes is hiding out. jimmy davis jr. and his family have been neighbors to jimmy dikes since he moved to this area and bought property here more than a year and a half ago.
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and davis says he's seen the bunker firsthand. >> and he told me it was a storm shelter, and i've not seen it in about probably eight to nine months. not sure what he's done to update it or anything. >> so when you saw that bunker, what did it look like? how wide, how deep was it? >> it was like a 15 x 15 foot wide in length and about 12 feet deep and it was lined with bricks, like the little red bricks. >> reporter: davis says dikes' travel trailer where he lives sits about 20 feet off the road on his property, behind the trailer is a massive steel shipping container that davis says dikes used as a shed. and behind that, slightly to the left is is the underground bunker. >> it had cinder blocks going down the steps and covered up with two sheets of plywood nailed together with hinges and stuff as a door. >> reporter: david saw the bunker early in its development. he says it had a tarp and sand
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over the top and also noticed a pvc pipe buried in the ground that went to the bunker all the way to the front gate. dikes told davis that he put it in, if he was in the bunker, he could hear cars or people approach the front gate. did he ever give you any indication as to why he built this bunker? >> storm shelter. that's what he told me. he said, back where he lived, there was a bunch of tornados and they would always hit close to his house, so he was preparing for it and wanted to make sure he had somewhere to get in. >> reporter: davis says his relationship with dikes quickly deteriorated, though. just in december, he says dikes fired a pistol at him and his family while they were in their pickup truck. the two men were due in court wednesday, where dikes was to face a charge of menacing. but since allegedly kidnapping a child and killing a man, dikes is now in much deeper, hiding out underground. and we learned that dikes has had other brushes with the law.
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one case where it was improper exhibition of a firearm, he was charged with that, but that case was administratively dismissed. another where he was arrested for possession of marijuana, under 20 grams, and at this point, we're all waiti ining to what his next move will be. >> george howell in alabama for us this evening, thank you so much, george. we're also following breaking news here in "the situation room." when we come back, we have new information about deaths and injuries reported in that mexico city explosion. officemax knows... ...tax time can be...well...taxing. so right now we'll give you... ...$10 off any turbo tax deluxe level software or higher! find thousands of big deals now... ...at officemax.
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let's get some more on this hour's breaking news. an explosion in mexico city, that happened in the high-rise tower where mexico's state-run
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oil company, pemex, has offices. >> televisa, a cnn affiliate, is reporting five people are dead and 75 were injured in the pemex blast. televisa also says at least 30 people are trapped. so clearly, a continuing situation. this is information comes from mexico city's district governor. another cnn affiliate also says people have been trapped in the building's basement, basement because of the blast. a developing situation and we'll bring you updates as we get them. >> of course, let's get back to the contentious chuck hagel confirmation hearing on capitol hill today. erin burnett is "outfront" with a senator who has a big problem with hagel. erin, tell us about it. >> you know, a big problem, and he is senator john barrasso of wyoming, wolf, fourth highest ranking republican in the senate. and he was there today and i asked him, did chuck hagel say anything that would make you more comfortable, and he said, in his words, chuck hagel was weak and wobbly. and he had a whole lot more to say. we talked about this, we talked
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in depth about iran. that's coming up at the top of the hour, wolf. plus, in washington state, as you may know, and maybe, you know, maybe i don't know about this, wolf, but in washington, they legalized pot. so they now need a person to run pot for washington state, an expert they're hiring. we're going to talk to the candidates. >>wear going "outfront" right at the top of the hour with erin. all right, erin. see you in a few minutes. >> a new high. >> thank you very much. david letterman has noticed some of the changes going on right here at cnn since the hiring of our new president, jeff zucker. and letterman offered some of his own ideas on how to improve the network. >> okay, here we go. changes now at cnn. number ten, "the situation room" now hosted by the situation. there you go! number nine, sanjay gupta's hilarious new sitcom, "ftwo broe guptas." number eight, changing the
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pronunciation of tcnn to cnnn. number six, wolf blitzer, shirtless. number four, new president jeff zucker, zuking everything up. number three, lifting ban on anchors using steroids. number two, piers morgan, deported. number one change at cnn, more coverage of goats! >> from the county fair, linda carson, nbc 7 -- would you not eat my pants? ahh! >> that's good! >> we're going to have much more on the goats coming up later this hour. is that right? >> that's funny. >> a full in-depth report on goats. >> if i remember, you brought up goats during our inaugural parade coverage. i might be making that up, but -- >> i did. you told me, a lot of animals in the parade. >> it was actually horses. >> david letterman needs to be nice to david gergen. >> very funny.
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good publicity. >> and harsh on you. >> love david gergen. and beyonce breaking her silence on the inauguration lip syncing controversy. breaking into song. you'll hear it and see it right here in "the situation room."
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. ten days since the controversy first started over whether or not beyonce lip synced the national anthem at president obama's inauguration. the pop artist is now breaking her silence and also breaking into song. ♪ o, say can you see ♪ by the dawn's early light ♪ what so proudly we hailed, at the twilight's last gleaming ♪ ♪ whose broad stripes and bright stars ♪ ♪ through the perilous fight
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♪ o'er the ramparts we watched ♪ were so gallantly streaming ♪ and the rockets' red glare ♪ the bombs bursting in air ♪ gave proof through the night ♪ that our flag was still the there ♪ ♪ o, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave ♪ ♪ o'er the land of the free and
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the hope of the brave ♪ ♪ the brave >> beyonce also admitted for the first time that she sang along with her pre-recorded track last monday. >> i am a perfectionist. and one thing about me, i practice until my feet bleed and i did not have time to rehearse with the orchestra. it was a live television show and a very, very important, emotional show for me. one of my proudest moments. and due to the weather, due to the delay, due to no proper so